Lego Robotics At EAPrep Summer STEM Institute
Lego bricks have been a playroom staple for years, as they offer seemingly endless possibilities for creative construction. But at East Austin Prep’s Summer STEM Institute, kids are taking Lego play to a whole new level. With expertise from Austin’s Learning Fun 101, students built and tested their own Lego robots in their final week of STEM camp.
Set up in small groups at tables supplied with Lego bricks and laptops with which to program their mechanized toys, the kids worked assiduously to finish with the best iteration of the prescribed robot. With fifteen minutes of class time left, building came to a close for a test of robotic prowess: a dueling tournament which pitted the robots against one another until a victor arose.
In a stadium marked by blue electric tape on the tiled floor, two groups at a time brought their robots down for some friendly competition. With their contraptions hooked up to a main computer, the teams waited as the officiator for the match began the countdown to start. After a tense “one, two, three, LEGO!” the kids, who had been charging up their robots, released spinning tops from their robotic hubs into the field of play. Whichever top was left spinning the longest would be declared winner.
Throughout the week, the kids worked on this and other forms of Lego robotics with the guidance of their Learning Fun 101 instructors and aides. This experience, though not easily replicated at home, has undoubtedly opened these students’ minds to an interest in engineering. Who knows – the next time these kids build robots could be in their own research labs!